Jerry Falwell Jr., a College President, Defends Trump

U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. during a campaign event in Sioux City Iowa

Here it is.  From Sarah Pulliam Bailey at The Washington Post.

Falwell Jr. says that the damaging Access Hollywood tape was actually leaked by members of the GOP establishment so that they could have an excuse to separate themselves from the Trump campaign.  This is certainly possible.  Unlikely, but possible.

Falwell Jr. claims that he knows this is true because he has “independent information” from sources that are “reliable.”  Then he says that he “can’t prove any of it, it’s my opinion.” Then he adds: “I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility…I don’t know for sure.”

Here is a taste of Bailey’s article:

“We’re never going to have a perfect candidate unless Jesus Christ is on the ballot,” he said. “I’ve got a wife and a daughter, and nobody wants to hear their women talked about in that manner.”

Falwell added: “It was just a horrible thing. He apologized. He was contrite about it.”

He said Trump did well by focusing on the issues during the debate.

“With $20 trillion in debt, we’re right on the edge of the abyss and if we don’t make some big changes, we’re going right down the hole,” Falwell told Cosby. “I don’t think the American people want this country to go down the toilet because Donald Trump made some dumb comments on a videotape 11 years ago.”

Falwell declined to name names, but he said he has independent information that Republican establishment members who reluctantly endorsed Trump released the tape to “slither out of the endorsements, and I think it backfired on them.”

“I think a lot of the establishment Republicans have been conspiring together for the last six weeks or more, and I think it’s all a plan,” he said, citing “sources I believe are reliable. It’s nothing I can prove. It wasn’t a coincidence it came out right before Trump was supposed to appear with [House Speaker] Paul Ryan at a rally and it conveniently gave Paul Ryan a way to disinvite Trump. I can’t prove any of it, it’s my opinion.”

“I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility,” Falwell said of whether GOP establishment figures were behind the leak. “I don’t know for sure.”

Read the entire piece here.

Let’s put aside the fact that Jerry Falwell Jr., an evangelical Christian, believes that Trump is truly contrite in his apology.  (A sincere and contrite “apology” is never followed by the word “but”).

Let’s put aside the fact that Falwell Jr. believes that a high national debt is the moral equivalent of Trump’s words about Nancy O’Dell and Arianne Zucker.

Instead let’s think about Jerry Falwell Jr.’s identity as a college president.   Falwell has suggested that the GOP leaked this tape.  When pushed, he claimed that this public accusation is based on little more than his own opinion.  Falwell admits that he has no evidence, yet he speaks with the authority of the president of the largest Christian university in the world.

Again, this conspiracy theory–true or not– is coming from a college president. Colleges and universities should be committed to evidence-based arguments.  I am pretty sure that the majority of faculty at Liberty University would never allow their students to get away with making an argument that is not supported by solid evidence. Could you imagine if I let one of my students make a case in support of this or that issue by saying “it is just my opinion” and “I can’t prove it.”

How can the president of an institution of higher education model such academic incompetence?  I am sure many Liberty University professors are cringing.